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JIM HIGIITOWER A national radio commentator, writer, and author, Hightower’s latest book, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back, made the Best Seller List. Plains, continued from page 25 of water power / bolted to hold the blades / and rudders, to aim the ranch / toward God’s almighty gales, / to face whatever blows.” There are also repeated allusions to time and its effects \(imagery of rusting machinery, paintless houses falling in, granite turning to of home and family \(“Prairie never lets and perhaps above all the revelation of the endless reward of looking closely at the Plains environment. Each poem contributes, in conjunction with the photographic imagery, to making this volume more than a coffee-table book though it can serve that end as well, since it is so deliciously gorgeous to look at. But in reading the poetry alongside the photography, one comes to an awareness of the spiritual in West Texas life, as seen through the eyes of these two master artists, to a profundity that is far from a mere luxurious publication meant to impress. The poetry in Great Lonely Places most often presents a realistic view of the red-in-tooth-and-claw existence of a habitat where buzzards’ “whirling funnel of wings” wheels “a slow blessing / of flesh” and a mouse squeals “when an owl grabs it and flaps away.” But there is humor as well, as in “The Perks of Being a Greenhorn;’ which describes high school girls enamored of horses and a neophyte cowboy. The poems also lovingly portray the habits of Plains people, as they drink coffee, smoke \(or not: “I kicked the habit / four years ago after the last grassfire / some trucker care for their animals \(“the oldest mare on the Plains, / drools when I rub her Always both McDonald and Meinzer clearly revel in the close observation of has to offer. As the poet says and the photographer illustrates, they are never “alone, / here with dry wind to amaze;’ watching as the “bluebonnets / and Indian blankets dazzle the roadside” and “windmills… spin their rapture.” Dave Oliphant is a writer in Austin. compelled in join in the stoning. Osama is spared from death when the judge mysteriously grants her a reprieve, then hands her over to an aged and cruel mullah who wants her as his latest bride. Here’s where Osama really diverges from the conventional. The viewer wants the dirty old man’s head on a stake, and we hope that Osama will finally screw up her courage and lop it off. Or, failing that, that the splendid young Espandi will rescue her, and kill the old man while he’s at it. But the film doesn’t offer that kind of release. Osama is a helpless victim to the end, as are the mullah’s various other wives. \(He seems to have more than the four allowed by So, you’ll leave the theater feeling impressed with Barmak’s filmmaking abilities, but quite bummed by the story he’s told. More to the point, you’ll feel shock and horror at the portrait he has drawn of a society gone mad with woman-hate. David Theis is the author of Rio Ganges. LIKE POKIN’ FUN AT CHENEY, ASHCROFT, AND “W”? WANT TO HELP DEFEND THE BILL OF RIGHTS? PLEASE JOIN US FOR THE 2004 ACLU HOUSTON GALA 7 P.M. TO 9:30 P.M., MAY 8, 2004, 2106 PERSA, HOUSTON, TExAs77019 FEATURING: +JIM HIGHTOWER, populist firebrand, humorist and author of the Best Seller Thieves in High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time to Take It Back. His new book, Let’s Stop Beating Around the Bushes will be in stores on July 19. +Presentation of the 2004 Dassia Porper Liberties in Justice Award to Tyrone Garner, John Lawrence, and Attorney Mitchell Katine for their contributions to the fight for equal rights for gay and lesbian men and women. +Presentation of the ACLU Houston Lifetime Achievement Award to Ben Levy for his dedication and contributions to the ACLU and civil liberties. +Hors d’oeuvres provided by Shade, lbizo, Hotel Icon, Raven Grill, Beso, Ming’s, Niko Niko’s, and Brasil. Beer and Wine will be served. FOR TICKETS: Mail a check for $75.00 per person to: ACLU Houston Chapter Gala, P. 0. Box 132047, Houston, TX 77219. Checks should be made out to “ACLU of Texas.” Tickets will be held at the door. Proceeds help support the Houston Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. 4/23/04THE TEXAS OBSERVER 27